Category Archives:
Middle East

Trump is forcing us to redefine the idea of ‘Home’

Liz Rose on
Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

The day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, I received an email from one of my undocumented students in my Junior English class. “I’m scared. I don’t have anything to return to in my home country, and the U.S. has become my home.” Liz Rose meditates on the shifting meaning of home during a crisis of leadership.

Arafat started the fires!

Hatim Kanaaneh on
Forest fire near settler outpost of Gevaot, West Bank, Palestine (photo: Fire and Rescue/Jewish Press)

Israelis believe without evidence that Palestinians started recent fires near Haifa. Secret Police officials have confirmed that they suspect Arabs and have taken thirty of them into custody. One had toilet paper on his person! Hatim Kanaaneh writes, “Arafat must have started all those fires in our country. Or was it Haj Amine Al-Husseini? After all, we all know the Mufti was the one who convinced Hitler to go after the Jews in Europe. Or could it be Mahmoud Abbas since we can slap him at will?”

When Sanders changed political reality. And hasbara culture slapped him down.

Yakov Hirsch on
Bernie Sanders speaking in New York City (Photo: Wilson Dizard)

One of Bernie Sanders’s greatest foes in the presidential primary was hasbara culture, an aggressive and proselytizing construction of reality from a minority of the Jewish community that Sanders threatened with statements that changed the political discourse on Israel. Hasbara culture helped to undermine the insurgent senator.

Saving the daughters of Israel from the annihilation of intermarriage

Jonathan Ofir on
Demonstrators protesting the wedding of a Muslim and a Jew in Israel in August 2014

Opposition to intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews in Israel is not confined to the far right. State funds support a shelter to “rescue” Jewish women who are married to “Arabs,” and the idea of conversion is linked to annihilation and betrayal in Hebrew tradition.

We are in an era of conservative counter-revolution

Philip Weiss on
Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Trump’s election is most reminiscent of the Egyptian counter-revolution. Maybe history is not progressive. Maybe cultural advances and economic fairness are not the end point. Maybe history is actually deeply conservative, and majoritarian reactions are going to last a long time in an era of shortages, climate crises and mass migrations.

Challenging anti-Semitism and the Trump presidency

Max Ajl on
Donald Trump at the Republican Jewish Coalition, iconic photograph by Mark Peterson

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Stephen Bannon to be his chief strategist has brought to the surface the antisemitic undercurrent of Trump’s reactionary populism. How we go about explaining the phenomenon goes some way towards guiding us as to how to mobilize against it. Max Ajl says it’s essential to understand that “Trumpism” is the product of a US social and political order that was neither reformable nor defensible, and it offers an opportunity to join a more inclusive movement – “one big enough for all of us, except for those who insist that others pay the price for their safety.”

Before Trump’s revolution, there was Sanders’

Philip Weiss on
Rep. Keith Ellison

Before Trump surprised Clinton in Michigan, Bernie Sanders led a revolution that included some of the same political materials but had a universalist, non-racist message. That revolution is more alive than ever, and in the next generation’s hands.

‘A revolt against the future’: Quick reflections on the November 2016 Election

Bill Fletcher Jr. on
Trump and Clinton

Bill Fletcher Jr. offers some initial takeaways from the U.S. presidential election. He says it was a referendum on globalization and demographics and represents the consolidation of a misogynistic white united front in U.S. politics and society. Still, he sees reasons for hope including the fact that the results were incredibly close even without the ideal candidate to represent the new majority emerging in the country.

Western leaders grow deaf to Israeli abuses

Jonathan Cook on
UNESCO headquarters in Paris

European governments – fearful of upsetting Israel’s patron in Washington – have been trying to hold in check popular anger at a belligerent and unrepentant Israel.

The frozen Chosen: In Chabon’s ‘Yiddish Policemen’s Union’ a Jewish state in Alaska (still) results in the burning of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Sam Bahour on
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Sam Bahour says Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” should come with a warning label READ WITH CAUTION IF YOU ACTUALLY LIVE UNDER A JEWISH ISRAELI MILITARY OCCUPATION because “between the seriousness of the political premise, the gut-wrenching humor, the community involved, the concept of a collective return of land as even being imaginable, the real, day to day stories—love, death, addiction, work, relationships, etc.—interspersed, and the burning of the Dome of Rock, which already happened once in reality and is being threatened again these days, it’s just too much for a person living under an actual Jewish (or so believed)-inspired military occupation to handle.”

In Tel Rumeida, you can be arrested for laughing

Lori Rudolph on
A checkpoint in Tel Rumeida (photo: Arwa Abu Haikal)

“We live under a totalitarian system of occupation,” Feryal, a Palestinian mother in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida section explains. She was once detained for five hours for laughing in front of an Israeli soldier.

What if the Syria no-fly zone won’t fly?

(((James North))) on
F 16 fighter plane of the sort shot down over Serbia when US imposed a no-fly zone in the Balkans

The foreign policy elite in Washington seems to be united on imposing a no-fly zone over Syria. But two veterans with hundreds of combat missions between them contend that Assad’s anti-aircraft capabilities are far too robust to permit such an intervention without significant losses and billions in expenditures.

Calling someone a ‘Zionist’ is anti-Semitic and abusive, say British lawmakers

Allison Deger on
Campaigners in support of Palestinians block traffic in London at a protest on October 17, 2015. (Photo: London Palestine Action/Facebook)

British lawmakers have said the word “Zionist” as a pejorative “has no place in a civilised society” and recommend considering a victim’s feelings when deciding if a criminal investigation into anti-Semitism should be launched, said an annual report on anti-Semitism published last week by a cross-party group in Parliament.

B’Tselem calls on world to ‘intervene’ to stop ‘more perfect occupation,’ and Netanyahu goes ballistic

Philip Weiss on
Hagai El-Ad, director of B'Tselem

Hagai El-Ad, the head of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, urged the United Nations Security Council to take action at last against the occupation because, “The reality will not change if the world does not intervene. I suspect that our arrogant government also knows this, so it’s busy fearmongering against such an intervention.” Netanyahu has responded in outrage.

‘State of Terror,’ by Thomas Suárez

David Gerald Fincham on
1946 train bombing, image from Tom Suarez's book State of Terror

The new book State of Terror, by Thomas Suárez, documents the willingness of Zionists to use violence to establish a Jewish state, and proves beyond doubt that Israel is not the perpetual victim of Arab violence that it claims to be, but has been the aggressor throughout the history of the conflict.

The Jewish confession on a future Yom Kippur

Marc H. Ellis on
Israeli soldier praying on a tank.

Marc Ellis writes, “Another Yom Kippur has arrived. That special time of reflection and confession is upon us. Yet the reflection and confessional pickings are slim. In the mainstream Jewish communities of Israel and America there has been little reflection. The confession we Jews should have made, the confession we Jews have to make, won’t be made today.”